When the stomach is forced to fulfill its digestive functions due to a prolonged imbalance, in which the protective (mucosa) and aggressive factors (HCL) fail to harmonize over time, the inflammation of the stomach lining becomes chronic ; This severe inflammation over a long period is called chronic atrophic gastritis (known as type A or B gastritis).
The alteration of gastric tissue due to this chronic inflammation causes the decrease or loss of digestive functions possessed by the specialized cells of the stomach epithelium. The parietal and main gastric cells are responsible for producing gastric juices and enzymes that ensure the absorption and well-being of the digestive system.
Causes of Atrophic Gastritis
The causes can be multiple and can be generated by various factors, the most common being the Helicobacter Pylori bacteria. Below we will detail some factors:
- Intrinsic factors: The atrophic autoimmune gastritis is a chronic disease where the immune system mistakes the same with the unfamiliar, the antibodies attacking producing parietal cells (intrinsic factor and proton pump H + K + -ATPase).
This cellular deterioration causes a decrease in the production of digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid (HCL) and intrinsic factor; thus leading to a deficiency of vitamin b12 that manifests itself in pernicious anemia , gastrointestinal and neurological symptoms. (Tinnitus (ringing in the ears), Unsteadiness when walking, Mental confusion).
The accumulations of cobalamin in the liver make its deficit take years to manifest itself; causing the patient not to need exactly from when he feels sick. The doctor relies on blood and stool tests, endoscopy, and biopsies for diagnosis; as well as when associating it with other autoimmune diseases (thyroiditis, type II diabetes mellitus, vitiligo, etc.).
- Extrinsic factors: The long-term bacterial colonization of the stomach epithelium by Helicobacter pylori results in chronic gastritis that ends up weakening the protective membrane of the stomach, allowing gastric juices to damage the stomach wall. In addition to this, the immune system also attacks the parietal cells , this attack is activated by H. pylori through cell mimicry.
What symptoms does it produce?
The symptoms of chronic atrophic gastritis are the discomfort of a patient with recurrent gastritis, accentuated with intestinal infections and vitamin deficiency:
- Abdominal pain and indigestion.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Bloating and bloating.
- Meteorism (gases) and belching.
- Weakness and dizziness
- Numbness of the extremities and tingling.
- Acid reflux and stomach ulcers.
Alteration of digestive functions:
- Hypochlorhydria or achlorhydria: implies the decrease or absence of the secretion of hydrochloric acid, without this acid pH, the stomach is unprotected against the microorganisms that enter after feeding; thus increasing the amount of bacteria lodged in the small intestine.
- Decreased intrinsic factor: occurs after the involvement of the parietal cells. This protein is involved in the absorption of vitamin B12 or cobalamin.
- Difficulty absorbing iron and protein: due to loss of heartburn and decreased enzymes such as pepsinogen.
- High levels of gastrin: this hormone stimulates the production of hydrochloric acid. It is stimulated when the stomach pH loses acidity.
- Metaplasty: It is the replacement of the stomach epithelium by intestinal tissue and fibrous tissue due to recurrent inflammation. This is predisposing for stomach cancer.
How to Treat Atrophic Gastritis
This is a disease that must be prevented, so this may be the best treatment for atrophic gastritis, in this way, we will avoid complications and serious problems. Here are 2 alternatives to consider.
- Changing habits: Avoid unnatural foods that irritate the stomach lining (alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, refined flour and sugar, fried foods, soft drinks, chocolate, etc.). Learn to manage stress and anxiety. Consume two liters of water daily. Decrease the amount and increase the frequency of meals (every 3 hours approx.)
- Medication: includes antibiotics in case of H. pylori infection. Antacids, H2 antihistamines and proton pump blockers in case of heartburn. Vitamin b12 parenterally in case of deficiency.
Patients with autoimmune atrophic gastritis are more complicated cases in which it is a matter of mitigating gastric discomfort and vitamin deficiency, but a cure as such does not exist, the already functionally damaged stomach epithelium cannot be regenerated. These people generally have complications, between relieving their gastric symptoms and decreasing the microbial population in the intestine; since antacids increase the risk of infections.
Natural treatments can be very effective in treating and curing any type of gastritis. However, you have to become aware of the type of life you lead and change it for a suitable one, in terms of food. Here are 2 home treatment options.
- Coconut Infusion
This fruit contains anti-inflammatory nutrients that can help reduce the discomfort caused. Due to its fatty acids that compose it. It is also bactericidal and antioxidant, it contains a lot of vitamin C, so its consumption can be very beneficial.
- Fennel Infusion
It helps to eliminate intestinal colic, constipation and gas that occur in the intestine. Its preparation is very easy to carry out, and the aim is to make the most of its nutritional and healing properties. You boil half a liter of water and add fennel seeds until we get the infusion.
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